In math (Algebra) we use letters (called variables) to represent unknown amounts.
Since we don't know what the three even numbers are, we use the letter x, here called a variable, to represent the smallest of the three unknown even numbers.
Once we choose x to represent the smallest of three even numbers, the other two even numbers are x + 2 and x + 4, as explained in an earlier response above.
The sum of the three numbers is -54, so we can write this as an equation:
x + x + 2 + x + 4 = -54
We now combine all x's on the left side.
x is the same as 1x
1x + 1x + 2 + 1x + 4 = -54
1x + 1x + 1x + 2 + 4 = -54
Adding 1x + 1x + 1x, we get 3x;
also, 2 + 4 = 6, so we now have
3x + 6 = -54
Now we need to subtract 6 from both sides of the equation.
3x + 6 = -54
- 6 -6
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3x = -60
Now we divide both sides by 3 to get:
3x/3 = -60/3
x = -20
Since x represents the smallest of the three numbers,
now we know that the smallest of the 3 consecutive even numbers is -20.
The next number is x + 2 = -20 + 2 = -18
The largest of the 3 number is x + 4 = -20 + 4 = -16
The numbers are -20, -18, -16
Now let's check.
-20, -18, and -16 are consecutive even numbers.
What is -20 + (-18) + (-16) = ?
-20 + (-18) + (-16) = -54
The sum of the three numbers is -54, so our answer is correct.
The three numbers are -20, -18, and -16.